Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2001 23:28:24 -0500
From: "Kenneth S." <>
Subject: Re: Check engine light on 1996 900 SE

Thank you for your comments, Geoff. I think I'm going to buy a new gas cap, and see if that makes any difference. It may be that this is a particularly critical factor in a Saab, since why otherwise would they put a message about it on the gas cap? On the other hand, why wouldn't the dealer have suggested a new gas cap when I brought it in before? I have to have the emissions tests done at a special place, and when I take any car in for a test, they always check the gas cap first, before doing anything else, because they say there's no point in doing the tailpipe tests if the gas cap is defective. So I may consult them to see whether they can see anything wrong about this particular gas cap. I'll keep you posted. Geoff Waters wrote: > > "Kenneth S." wrote: > > > > I have a 1996 900 SE with 67,000 miles on it. The "check engine" light > > came on about 10 days ago, and stayed on, for no apparent reason. The > > car was running fine. I took it into the local Saab dealer. The > > mechanic hooked it up to the computer and said that there was nothing > > wrong, but that it was possible that I hadn't tightened up the gas cap > > sufficiently after the last fill-up. (There is a message on the gas cap > > saying that, if it is insufficiently tightened, the check engine light > > may come on.) > > > > The dealer reset the system, and the check engine light was off for > > about a week. Yesterday, however, it came on again, for no apparent > > reason. I had not filled up the car before it came on. So it could not > > be a question of the gas cap not being properly tightened. In any case, > > I filled up the tank with premium gasoline today, and made sure to > > tighten up the cap, but the check engine light is staying on. > > > > (1) Has anyone else experienced this kind of problem? > > > > (2) Is it possible that the seal on the gas cap has deteriorated, and > > that replacing the gas cap will take care of this problem permanently? > > > > (3) Is there any way that I can reset the system myself, and avoid > > having to take the car in to the dealer to do it? > > > > (4) Why would the check engine light stay on permanently like this? I > > thought that they automatically went out after a while, but that the > > trouble code was retained in the computer for a while, and could later > > be retrieved by the dealer. > > > > (5) With previous American cars I have owned, the check engine light > > has invariably been a sign that the oxygen sensor needed to be > > replaced. Is it possible that this is the problem here? The dealer > > didn't mention this, and in any case I wouldn't have expected an oxygen > > sensor to need replacement before about 90,000 miles. > > I was about to send a fairly identical message when I saw yours. > > a) you can reset the light by disconnecting both battery terminals at > the same time (make sure you know your radio code before you do this). > There may be a better way; if so, I'll be glad to learn it. Mine will > stay off for anywhere from a month to 2 minutes. Sometimes (maybe once > in five times) it will also go out by itself after a few days or a week. > > b) mine is also a 1996 900SE (2.0 turbo 5-door AT). I have had it for > about a year and it presently has 65,500 miles on it. The light comes on > regularly, always while driving (never surprising me at ignition > startup). Two different SAAB dealers (in NC and CA) had no idea other > than it might be "a loose or corroded terminal somewhere." When they > checked for an error code, they told me there wasn't any error or fault > registering on the car's computer chip. The car recently passed its > California smog test (although I had to talk the tester into letting me > do the battery trick because a "check engine" light will flunk you even > if the engine is within the required pollution limits). It runs fine. I > get about 32 miles per US gallon at a steady 65, about 22-24 at a steady > 75, and about 18-20 in LA freeway commuting, so I am assuming the engine > is doing its thing OK. (Or should those numbers be better?) I just had > the 65,000 major service and the car came back with the light still lit > and the service tech said he was still stumped. > > I'm ready to learn...

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